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A new enemy of Lev Khariton :-) (OT)



 
 
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  #1  
Old July 1st 03, 03:27 AM
Nick
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default A new enemy of Lev Khariton :-) (OT)

Off-Topic: This post discusses what's in an already identified 'OT' thread.

Chapman billy wrote in message m...to Mark Houlsby (not me)
In article [email protected]
m05.aol.com, Mark Houlsby -remove)- says...
(snipped)


I have not seen Nick admit that he set out to deliberately provoke in the
matter of the Vincennes. We all have blind spots, he may genuinely not have
realised the reaction that would ensue; he is a welcome regular contributor
to this group and has avowed, as yet, no such ulterior motivation.


'If we go back to the beginning we shall always find that ignorance and fear
have created gods; fancy, enthusiasm, or deceit has adorned or disfigured them;
weakness worships them; credulity preserves them in life; custom regards them
and tyranny supports them in order to make the blindness of men serve its own
ends.'
--Paul-Henri Thiry, Baron d'Holbach (1723-89)

'Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgement; and
he betrays instead of serving you if he sacrifices it to your opinion.'
--Edmund Burke (22 March 1775)

Simon,

Thanks very much for writing that I am 'a welcome regular contributor to this
group'. I appreciate your sincerity, as I hope you do mine.

When, in response to StanB's post denouncing the Ukrainians for shooting down
an Israeli airliner, I wrote my post on the 1988 American shoot-down of an
Iranian airliner, my intention was to remind people who live in glass houses
not to be too hasty in throwing stones at others; I did not expect what ensued.

When Salman Rushdie, who had grown up among Muslims, wrote 'The Satanic Verses',
he did not set out to provoke a fatwa condemning him to death. In retrospect,
his 'blind spot' loomed large. I did not grow up among extreme right-wing
jingoistic Americans. Notwithstanding any 'blind spots' of mine about them,
my post on the American shoot-down did not aim to 'provoke' anyone. And I
doubt that it *did* seriously 'provoke' many, if any, readers here beyond
a solitary extreme right-wing American politician, Tim Hanke, and his hard
core of political followers. Hanke distorted my post in order to execute a
baseless political ad hominem attack on me. Then he suddenly fell silent
when he was unable to support his accusations against me.

In this thread (1 June 2003), Louis Blair, who has reviewed all the evidence,
wrote: "As far as I could see, Timothy Hanke did *not* back up his 'fell flat'
claim when Nick complained."

I have to say that I was disappointed that you seemed to have given Tim Hanke's
baseless accusations against me more credence than they ever deserved, at least
to the extent of appearing to have been unduly influenced by his making them.

Perhaps you were unaware that Tim Hanke is held in deep disdain by many RGCM
(not to mention RGCP) readers. I have read quite a few posts expressing the
conviction (albeit sometimes in more euphemistic terms) that Tim Hanke is
a pathological liar as well as a racist or a bigot. Evidently, Tim Hanke
already had deeply offended many people and made many lasting enemies here
*before* I ever wrote anything at all here.

'It is a general popular error to suppose the loudest complainers for the
public to be the most anxious for its welfare.'
--Edmund Burke (1775)

I have no desire to engage in flame wars, even if others do.
Evisceration by insult rarely has the apparently desired effect of moderating
behaviour and attitudes, I have found patient cajoling a much better approach.


'Men can resist the remonstrances that wound them, and so irritate them, better
than they can those gentle appeals that rouse no anger, but soften the whole
heart.'
--Charles Reade (Griffith Gaunt)

Do you admire the Fabian Society's historical strategy of 'permeating' local
governments in Britain, the 'inevitability of gradualness'? :-)

However, I have been called far worse things than that. I have even received
telephone calls at home delivering the same message. All for making what
turned out to be 100% accurate forecasts that were out of kilter with the
nostrums of the day.


Like Cassandra, alas, a prophet tends to proceed without honour (and honours)
in one's own country.

Abneos : Yes. We must make a war-song.
Demokos: Very proper. A war requires a war-song.
Paris : We have done without one up to now.
Hecuba : War itself sings quite loud enough.
Abneos : We have done without one because up to now we were fighting only
barbarians....
--Jean Giraudoux (La Guerre de Troie n'aura pas lieu)
--Christopher Fry (translated into English as 'Tiger at the Gates')

In short, unless Hanke *denounces* these ignorant, offensive, racist idiots
he will, by implication, be agreeing with them... he certainly cannot deny
that StanB is one of his most ardent adherents...


Since Mark Houlsby wrote that, it has become evident that Tim Hanke does align
himself with the racist statements of his friends, StanB and Briarroot.
Please read their comments about my alleged 'eating pygmy' (cannibalism), as
quoted in my earlier post in this thread, or as they were originally written
in the ancestral thread, 'A new enemy of Lev Khariton'.

Your conclusion does not follow from your premise. If it were otherwise then
you are asserting that the "silent majority" support what has been written,
which I, for one, do not accept.


'Speech is often barren; but silence also does not necessarily brood over a
full nest.'
--George Eliot (Felix Holt the Radical)

'Qui tacet consentit' (Who remains silent gives consent) is the maxim in law.
In many cases, however, I am disinclined to make any definite inference on
what the 'silent majority' believes.

'There are cases in which silence implies other things than consent.'
--Walter Scott (Redgauntlet)

My two cents: the reasons *not* to give the present administration the
benefit of the doubt about *anything at all* are too numerous to list here,
but some of the main ones a
1) it was not democratically elected.


Suppose by some legal manoeuvre that Gore had forced a rerun of the election,
how can you be so certain that there would not have been a Winchester effect?


Now there's the rub: no one today can be *certain* of what should have been
the outcome of the 2000 United States presidential election *if* everyone were
able to agree that its procedures had been observed fairly and fully.

You seem to imply that since Bush *might* have won a rerun of the disputed
election, he *should* have won (or been declared the official winner of, as
he was) the original election.

In my view, any democracy has suffered a major (perhaps sometimes approaching
a fatal) loss of public confidence whenever perhaps about half of its citizens
believe that their national leader was not elected fairly.

Here's the recent opinion of one United States citizen:

"...During the Korean War, I was with the 1st Marine Division in North Korea
at the Chosin Resevoir, where we were surrounded by Chinese troops, who General
MacArthur had assured us would not enter the war.

I wonder how a nation whose federal government is not democratic can manage to
accomplish 'the spread of democracy'. If the United States were a democracy,
then George Bush would not be president, we would not be fighting in Iraq, and
most of the world would not hate us. Rather than spreading democracy around
the world, let us repair things at home."

--Charles H. Anderson (letter to Harper's magazine, June 2003)

And here's an article, 'Give us back our democracy', by an eminent American
scholar, Edward Said, in 'The Observer' (20 April 2003):

http://www.observer.co.uk/comment/st...940123,00.html

'Nevertheless, Americans have been cheated, Iraqis have suffered impossibly, and
Bush looks like a cowboy. On matters of the gravest importance, constitutional
principles have been violated and the electorate lied to. We are the ones
who must have our democracy back.'
--Edward Said (20 April 2003, The Observer)

2) the president may have an IQ lower than any of his predecessors, and is
at least arguably *worse* than Warren Harding, who was the previous holder
of the distinction "worst ever US president"


Bush hasn't been in power long enough to assess his presidency.


Helen Thomas, the doyenne of the White House press corps, agrees substantially
with Mark Houlsby about President George W. Bush.

"Eighty-two years old, Helen Thomas has been covering White House briefings
and presidential press conferences since the heady days of President Kennedy.
For nearly 40 years, Thomas was White House correspondent for U.P.I....her
persistent, frank questioning has made her a pest to presidents and their
minders....None, however, has expressed his annoyance more nakedly than Bush
the Son....

Thomas committed a greater act of blasphemy when she told an interviewer that
*George Bush was the worst president in American history*, a remark she
partially recanted, saying it was too early to render a complete verdict since
there's always the hope of 'redemption'. It was too little, too late; her
anti-Bush quote had been duly noted in the building, put on her permanent
record, and filed with the principal....The president's petty snub was followed
by an ugly pile-on whose purpose was to kick Thomas to the curb permanently
as if she were a bag lady who had slipped past security."

--James Wolcott ("Round up the Cattle!", from "Vanity Fair", June 2003)

Has Bush really 'been in power long enough to assess his presidency'?

That depends on one's perspective and purpose. It's too early for a historian
to write a definitive political biography. But President Bush already has
'been in power long enough' to have begun his campaign for reelection in 2004.
Why would you suppose that it's still premature for Americans to 'assess his
presidency' when soon they will be expected to decide whether or not to vote
for him?

Calling someone *stupid* isn't an argument;


I agree that just "*calling* someone stupid isn't an argument" in the absence
of evidence. But enough evidence can be found (though the orthodox American
media tends to ignore or downplay it) of President Bush's lack of intelligence.
Even his political supporters tend to concede that Bush is not particularly
intelligent, yet they argue that should be acceptable because he can depend on
more intelligent advisers, presuming that he will respect and listen to them.
According to many American political observers, however, President Bush is much
too arrogant and sure of himself to listen long, if at all, to anyone who dares
to disagree with him.

"'If Bush has doubts, they're not visible', 'Newsweek' intoned on March 31, and
a front-page profile in 'USA Today' soon after let us know that Bush doesn't
want any doubting Thomases or weak Willies around him: 'He has a special epithet
for members of his own staff who worry aloud. He calls them 'handwringers'.
Jesus on the cross gave way to doubt, but Bush and his prayer circle are made
of sterner stuff."
--James Wolcott ("Round up the Cattle!" from "Vanity Fair", June 2003)

"Tirelessly curious about all things great and small, the inventors of the
American idea pursued what they took to be the proper study of mankind in as
many spheres of reference as they could crowd into a Philadephia library
company or a Boston philosophical society, always with the hope of constructing
a government on the blueprint of universal reason despite, again in Voltaire's
words, 'all the passions which struggle against it; despite the tyrants who
wish to drown it in blood; despite the imposters who would employ superstition
to bring it to naught'.

President Bush speaks for an earlier period in American history, from a pulpit
in the Puritan forest before it received the gift of books. If his biographers
can be trusted, we now have in the White House a president so secure in his
belief that the course of human events rests in 'the hand of just and faithful
God' that he counts his ignorance as a virtue and regards his lack of curiosity
as a sign of moral strength. A similarly primitive way of thinking (fearful,
intolerant, fond of magic) darkens the mind of the shamans drawing up the
Pentagon's plans for the conquest of evil and accounts for the punitive reign
of virtue currently being imposed upon the American body politic by the Justice
Department, the Congress, and the Supreme Court. The collective retreat into
the mist of a simplified past speaks to the exhaustion of the mentality that
framed the Constitution and for two centuries carried forward the American
experiment with freedom. Our Washington geopoliticians like to imagine their
war on terrorism was 'a clash of civilizations'. They flatter themselves with
the high-toned noun; what they have incompetently in hand is a clash of
superstitions, and when I listen to them talk I hear the rattle of feathered
drums and the echo of bronze and braying horns."

--Lewis Lapham (Harper's, May 2003; Mr. Lapham is the editor of Harper's.)

besides, I'd rather have a lucky general than a good one.


He either fears his fate too much,
Or his deserts are small,
That dares not put it to the touch
To gain or lose it all.
--James Graham, Marquess of Montrose (1612-50) was a great but unlucky general.

Your rhetorical dichotomy between being lucky and being good is artificial.
President Bush has been lucky so far, yet why do you suppose that his run of
luck will continue? Do you presume that Fortuna has singled him out as her
favourite son for perpetuity? What will Bush do whenever his luck runs out?

With enough luck and superior material resources, however, Bernard Montgomery,
a good British general, was able to defeat Erwin Rommel, a greater German
general, in the North African desert campaign during the Second World War.

Here's a British military historian (once a senior British general) on Rommel:

"He was a natural, albeit a reasoning, taker of risks in war. He reckoned
that war is so uncertain a business, so dependent on the concatenation of
unpredictable chances, that boldness, a touch of optimism and above all speed
can and generally should do better than attempts at exact calculation. Rommel
did not believe in deferring battle until the odds assured victory. Had he done
so there would, for better or worse, have been no North African campaign.

Montgomery claimed that his own achievements derived from the fact that he never
fought an unsuccessful battle, and for Montgomery this was both an accurate
statement and a wise policy. It was, however, a policy only available to one
with both time and resources. Rommel, more often than not, had insufficent of
either. Nor was he ever in a position to wait until his situation and the odds
had improved. He fought at a numerical disadvantage again and again, and his
exploits can only be measured against that fact. He relied on skill to offset
quantitative inferiority. The bitter exclamation, already quoted, comes always
to mind: 'If one considers what the German Marshal could have achieved with the
superiority enjoyed by his opponents.' War is usually an option of difficulties.
Again and again Rommel could choose inactivity or take a calculated risk. He
believed that inactivity is seldom forgiven a general by fate.

Of course Rommel, ultimately, was beaten. He lost. But, although what must
matter in war is to win, that truism cannot provide the sole criterion for
judgement of military talent. War may be considered as a business, open to
audit, but its conduct also is an art. Ultimately Napoleon was beaten. So was
Montrose. So was Lee. Few could deny their genius. With all his imperfections,
as a leader of men in battle Erwin Rommel stands in their company."

--David Fraser (Knight's Cross: a Life of Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, p. 562)

By the way, no military historian today should agree that Field Marshal
Montgomery's Operation Market Garden ('a bridge too far') was a 'successful
battle' for the Allies.

I have my doubts about the recent programme of tax cuts, but, surely, you
can't be comparing today's world with the 1930s? For starters the modus
operandi of the Federal Reserve is quite different now.


My American friends tend to believe that the United States is becoming more of
a plutocracy, wherein the elites make government policies, corporate interests
dominate the media, and the increasingly disempowered public is summoned away
from their diet of 'bread and circuses' only to ratify those decisions.

'The millionocracy is not an affair of persons and families, but a perpetual
fact of money with a variable human element.'
--Oliver Wendell Holmes (Elsie Venner)

You will have to go back a long way to find a time when the US did not
"interfere" in the Near East. How do you imagine the Saudi princes came to
power in the peninsular?


I hope that you are not implying that American imperialism in the Middle East
must be acceptable because it follows a long tradition. American slavery
also followed a long tradition. The legal subordination of women in Saudi
Arabia follows a long tradition. Surely, you disapprove of those practices.

'Tyrant custom adds a sanction to practices neither justifiable on principles
of nature, reason, or religion.'
--from Adventures of a Kidnapped Orphan, 1747)

A democratic government in the Arabian peninsular can only be better than
what they have, it is hard to imagine anyone else presiding over such a
catastrophic slide in GNP since the 1970s as the Saudi princes have managed.


You seem to be consistently more impressed by American rhetoric about fostering
democracy abroad than by the bloody historical record of American opposition to
democracies in many societies.

Why do you suppose that the United States intends to allow the risk of having
a truly democratic government in Saudi Arabia, which should represent the
interests of its own people ahead of those of the American oil companies or
the United States military (with its imperialist need for strategic bases)?

On the contrary, in that region the United States consistently has preferred
to support conservative autocratic client regimes (such as the Shah in Iran).
The watchwords of United States policy in the Middle East tend to be 'our
vital interests' and 'our need for stability', not 'freedom' and 'democracy'.
Moreover, for instance, if Egypt became truly democratic, then there's some
chance that an avowedly Islamic government could be elected there in the future.
I doubt that Israel or the United States would tolerate that contigency.

"Al Qaeda" has become a euphamism for "the ongoing war against terrorism"
which has as much to do with the erosion of human rights *everywhere*


Most people have more rights in Eastern Europe now than they did under
communism.


Yes, but there's also been increased ethnic persecution and violence.
The Roma people (Gypsies) have become particularly afflicted.

For further reading:
'The Pariah Syndrome: an Account of Gypsy Slavery and Persecution'
by Ian Hancock (a scholar and the UN representative of the Roma)

'The true danger is when liberty is nibbled away, for expedience, and by parts.'
--Edmund Burke

--Nick
  #2  
Old July 2nd 03, 09:29 PM
Mark Houlsby
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default A new enemy of Lev Khariton :-) (OT)

Nick wrote:
Off-Topic: This post discusses what's in an already
identified 'OT' thread.

Chapman billy wrote in
message news:[email protected]
In article [email protected]
m05.aol.com, Mark Houlsby -remove)- says...
(snipped)


I have not seen Nick admit that he set out to
deliberately provoke in the
matter of the Vincennes. We all have blind spots, he may
genuinely not have
realised the reaction that would ensue; he is a welcome
regular contributor
to this group and has avowed, as yet, no such ulterior motivation.


'If we go back to the beginning we shall always find that
ignorance and fear
have created gods; fancy, enthusiasm, or deceit has
adorned or disfigured them;
weakness worships them; credulity preserves them in life;
custom regards them
and tyranny supports them in order to make the blindness
of men serve its own
ends.'
--Paul-Henri Thiry, Baron d'Holbach (1723-89)

'Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but
his judgement; and
he betrays instead of serving you if he sacrifices it to
your opinion.'
--Edmund Burke (22 March 1775)

Simon,

Thanks very much for writing that I am 'a welcome regular
contributor to this
group'. I appreciate your sincerity, as I hope you do mine.

When, in response to StanB's post denouncing the
Ukrainians for shooting down
an Israeli airliner, I wrote my post on the 1988 American
shoot-down of an
Iranian airliner, my intention was to remind people who
live in glass houses
not to be too hasty in throwing stones at others; I did
not expect what ensued.

When Salman Rushdie, who had grown up among Muslims, wrote
'The Satanic Verses',
he did not set out to provoke a fatwa condemning him to
death. In retrospect,
his 'blind spot' loomed large. I did not grow up among
extreme right-wing
jingoistic Americans. Notwithstanding any 'blind spots'
of mine about them,
my post on the American shoot-down did not aim to
'provoke' anyone. And I
doubt that it *did* seriously 'provoke' many, if any,
readers here beyond
a solitary extreme right-wing American politician, Tim
Hanke, and his hard
core of political followers. Hanke distorted my post in
order to execute a
baseless political ad hominem attack on me. Then he
suddenly fell silent
when he was unable to support his accusations against me.

In this thread (1 June 2003), Louis Blair, who has
reviewed all the evidence,
wrote: "As far as I could see, Timothy Hanke did *not*
back up his 'fell flat'
claim when Nick complained."

I have to say that I was disappointed that you seemed to
have given Tim Hanke's
baseless accusations against me more credence than they
ever deserved, at least
to the extent of appearing to have been unduly influenced
by his making them.

Perhaps you were unaware that Tim Hanke is held in deep
disdain by many RGCM
(not to mention RGCP) readers. I have read quite a few
posts expressing the
conviction (albeit sometimes in more euphemistic terms)
that Tim Hanke is
a pathological liar as well as a racist or a bigot.
Evidently, Tim Hanke
already had deeply offended many people and made many
lasting enemies here
*before* I ever wrote anything at all here.

'It is a general popular error to suppose the loudest
complainers for the
public to be the most anxious for its welfare.'
--Edmund Burke (1775)

I have no desire to engage in flame wars, even if others do.
Evisceration by insult rarely has the apparently desired
effect of moderating
behaviour and attitudes, I have found patient cajoling a
much better approach.


'Men can resist the remonstrances that wound them, and so
irritate them, better
than they can those gentle appeals that rouse no anger,
but soften the whole
heart.'
--Charles Reade (Griffith Gaunt)

Do you admire the Fabian Society's historical strategy of
'permeating' local
governments in Britain, the 'inevitability of gradualness'? :-)

However, I have been called far worse things than that. I
have even received
telephone calls at home delivering the same message. All
for making what
turned out to be 100% accurate forecasts that were out of
kilter with the
nostrums of the day.


Like Cassandra, alas, a prophet tends to proceed without
honour (and honours)
in one's own country.

Abneos : Yes. We must make a war-song.
Demokos: Very proper. A war requires a war-song.
Paris : We have done without one up to now.
Hecuba : War itself sings quite loud enough.
Abneos : We have done without one because up to now we
were fighting only
barbarians....
--Jean Giraudoux (La Guerre de Troie n'aura pas lieu)
--Christopher Fry (translated into English as 'Tiger at the Gates')

In short, unless Hanke *denounces* these ignorant,
offensive, racist idiots
he will, by implication, be agreeing with them... he
certainly cannot deny
that StanB is one of his most ardent adherents...


Since Mark Houlsby wrote that, it has become evident that
Tim Hanke does align
himself with the racist statements of his friends, StanB
and Briarroot.
Please read their comments about my alleged 'eating pygmy'
(cannibalism), as
quoted in my earlier post in this thread, or as they were
originally written
in the ancestral thread, 'A new enemy of Lev Khariton'.

Your conclusion does not follow from your premise. If it
were otherwise then
you are asserting that the "silent majority" support what
has been written,
which I, for one, do not accept.


'Speech is often barren; but silence also does not
necessarily brood over a
full nest.'
--George Eliot (Felix Holt the Radical)

'Qui tacet consentit' (Who remains silent gives consent)
is the maxim in law.
In many cases, however, I am disinclined to make any
definite inference on
what the 'silent majority' believes.

'There are cases in which silence implies other things than consent.'
--Walter Scott (Redgauntlet)

My two cents: the reasons *not* to give the present
administration the
benefit of the doubt about *anything at all* are too
numerous to list here,
but some of the main ones a
1) it was not democratically elected.


Suppose by some legal manoeuvre that Gore had forced a
rerun of the election,
how can you be so certain that there would not have been
a Winchester effect?


Now there's the rub: no one today can be *certain* of what
should have been
the outcome of the 2000 United States presidential
election *if* everyone were
able to agree that its procedures had been observed fairly and fully.

You seem to imply that since Bush *might* have won a rerun
of the disputed
election, he *should* have won (or been declared the
official winner of, as
he was) the original election.

In my view, any democracy has suffered a major (perhaps
sometimes approaching
a fatal) loss of public confidence whenever perhaps about
half of its citizens
believe that their national leader was not elected fairly.

Here's the recent opinion of one United States citizen:

"...During the Korean War, I was with the 1st Marine
Division in North Korea
at the Chosin Resevoir, where we were surrounded by
Chinese troops, who General
MacArthur had assured us would not enter the war.

I wonder how a nation whose federal government is not
democratic can manage to
accomplish 'the spread of democracy'. If the United
States were a democracy,
then George Bush would not be president, we would not be
fighting in Iraq, and
most of the world would not hate us. Rather than
spreading democracy around
the world, let us repair things at home."

--Charles H. Anderson (letter to Harper's magazine, June 2003)

And here's an article, 'Give us back our democracy', by an
eminent American
scholar, Edward Said, in 'The Observer' (20 April 2003):

http://www.observer.co.uk/comment/st...940123,00.html

'Nevertheless, Americans have been cheated, Iraqis have
suffered impossibly, and
Bush looks like a cowboy. On matters of the gravest
importance, constitutional
principles have been violated and the electorate lied to.
We are the ones
who must have our democracy back.'
--Edward Said (20 April 2003, The Observer)

2) the president may have an IQ lower than any of his
predecessors, and is
at least arguably *worse* than Warren Harding, who was
the previous holder
of the distinction "worst ever US president"


Bush hasn't been in power long enough to assess his presidency.


Helen Thomas, the doyenne of the White House press corps,
agrees substantially
with Mark Houlsby about President George W. Bush.

"Eighty-two years old, Helen Thomas has been covering
White House briefings
and presidential press conferences since the heady days of
President Kennedy.
For nearly 40 years, Thomas was White House correspondent
for U.P.I....her
persistent, frank questioning has made her a pest to
presidents and their
minders....None, however, has expressed his annoyance more
nakedly than Bush
the Son....

Thomas committed a greater act of blasphemy when she told
an interviewer that
*George Bush was the worst president in American history*,
a remark she
partially recanted, saying it was too early to render a
complete verdict since
there's always the hope of 'redemption'. It was too
little, too late; her
anti-Bush quote had been duly noted in the building, put
on her permanent
record, and filed with the principal....The president's
petty snub was followed
by an ugly pile-on whose purpose was to kick Thomas to the
curb permanently
as if she were a bag lady who had slipped past security."

--James Wolcott ("Round up the Cattle!", from "Vanity
Fair", June 2003)

Has Bush really 'been in power long enough to assess his presidency'?

That depends on one's perspective and purpose. It's too
early for a historian
to write a definitive political biography. But President
Bush already has
'been in power long enough' to have begun his campaign for
reelection in 2004.
Why would you suppose that it's still premature for
Americans to 'assess his
presidency' when soon they will be expected to decide
whether or not to vote
for him?


Indeed. My having written about GWB that he is: "...at least arguably
*worse* than Warren Harding..." was intended, specifically, to imply
that *notwithstanding* his having held the office of President for less
than a term he is *already* a contender for worst ever (which is quite a
negative achievement).

snip
--
Direct access to this group with http://web2news.com
http://web2news.com/?rec.games.chess.misc
  #3  
Old July 4th 03, 04:57 AM
Nick
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default A new enemy of Lev Khariton :-) (OT)

Chapman billy wrote in message m... (to Mark Houlsby)
In article , Mark Houlsby
says...
Well, patient cajoling has been ongoing in this dispute for some
considerable time now.


My timescale is years, yours, apparently, weeks.


'The cause is often won, with judgement, and silence like the game
of chess. All depends upon the move.'
--Hugh Henry Brackenridge (Modern Chivalry)

Simon,

I hope that you will not mind if I make some comments here on your
response to Mark Houlsby. You should know that I don't necessarily
agree with all his comments to you; as always, I am expressing myself
independently here.

Did you support a campaign of years of 'patient cajoling' to persuade
Saddam Hussein to cease Iraq's military occupation of Kuwait?

One should make the best of a given situation; granted his approval ratings,
most Americans must have made their peace concerning George W Bush's Florida
travails. He is legally legitimate whether you like it or not.


"You ought to be beating your chest every morning. You ought to look
in the mirror, suck in our bellies, and say, 'Damn, we're Americans!'"
--General Jay Garner (Rtd.), who runs Iraq's interim government now

For the record, Adolf Hitler also was the 'legally legitimate' leader
of Germany, and his evident 'approval ratings' (insofar as can be
estimated today) were remarkably high among his people until the last
year or two of the Second World War. By the way, I regard Jerome
Bibuld's now customary "Heil Dubya!" salutation as a rhetorical
embellishment, not a strict historical comparison. Nonetheless, both
Adolf Hitler and George W. Bush came to supreme power without ever
having been elected by a majority of their peoples, respectively, and
both of them seem to be imperialists with dreams of world domination.

Suggesting that Gore is president is "pointless speculation". Furthermore,
according to you, if we engage in this "pointless speculation" and Gore had
won the election, there would have been no September 11. For myself, I don't
believe Al Qaeda could give a fig who is the leading infidel.


Here I have to admit that I don't know exactly how the top leaders of
Al Qaeda (whoever they are) make their decisions. I never have been
invited to observe any of their secret high-level meetings. Do you
happen to have a private reliable 'inside source' therein?

As far as I know, however, Osama bin Laden's primary grievance against
the United States was the presence of American military bases in Saudi
Arabia, which he may have regarded as a desecration of the kingdom's
sacrosanct status as the guardian of the holy Islamic cities of Mecca
and Medina. Previous to that American 'military occupation' of Saudi
territory, however, he does not seem to have been exceptionally
'anti-American'. Indeed, reportedly, he cooperated with the CIA while
waging his personal sacred 'war of liberation' against the Soviet
military occupation of Afghanistan.

"What is Osama bin Laden? He's America's family secret. He is the
American President's dark doppelganger. The savage twin of all that
purports to be beautiful and civilized. He has been sculpted from
the spare rib of a world laid to waste by America's foreign policy:
its gunboat diplomacy, its nuclear arsenal, its vulgarly stated policy
of 'full spectrum dominance', its chilling disregard for non-American
lives, its barbarous military interventions, its support for despotic
and dictatorial regimes, its merciless economic agenda that has
munched through the economies of poor countries like a cloud of
locusts....

Both invoke God and use the loose millenarian currency of Good and
Evil as their terms of reference. Both are engaged in unequivocal
political crimes. Both are dangerously armed--one with the nuclear
arsenal of the obscenely powerful, the other with the incandescent,
destructive power of the utterly hopeless....The important thing to
keep in mind is that neither is an acceptable alternative to the
other."

--Arundhati Roy (The Algebra of Infinite Justice)

...Certainly, your view that to "all appearances", Bush is acting imprudently
is odd; to most Americans it appears he has been acting rather sensibly;
don't you read any opinion polls, or do you trust to luck?


I refuse to accept the general proposition that a policy must be
right, or even 'rather sensible', simply because it might seem
popular, according to a selected poll of public opinion. (Most
Americans once supported slavery too.) In 1988, after an American
warship shot down an Iranian airliner, killing all 290 persons aboard,
most Americans (who were understandably deceived by the official
U.S. Navy cover-up) supported that shoot-down too, according to polls.

"Voice or no voice, the people can be brought to the bidding of the
leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them that they are
being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and
exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country."
--Hermann Goering (1946, at the Nuremberg Trials)

And Hermann Goering had been in a sufficient position of power to
have known with authority what he was explaining about that.

You seem to underestimate the ease with which polls of public opinion
can be manipulated by the phrasing of their questions: "manufacturing
consent", an expression originated by Walter Lippmann in his 1922
book, "Public Opinion", and more recently popularized by Noam Chomsky
with his book of that title.

"All this was deliberately obscured by government and media in
manufacturing the case for destroying Iraq. Either without proof or
with fraudulent information, Saddam was accused of harbouring weapons
of mass destruction seen as a direct threat to the US....This is an
almost total failure in democracy--ours, not Iraq's: 70 percent of
the American people are supposed to support this, but nothing is more
manipulative than polls asking 465 Americans whether they 'support
our President and troops in time of war'...The doctrine of military
pre-emption was *never* voted on by the American people or their
representatives." (20 April 2003, The Observer)
--Edward Said ("Give us back our Democracy")

http://www.observer.co.uk/comment/st...940123,00.html

"People are not intelligent. It is very unreasonable to expect them
to be so, and that is a fate my philosophy reconciled me to long ago.
How else could I have lived for forty years in America?"
--George Santayana (December 1917, letter to Bertrand Russell)

Contrary to fact, you seem to assume that most Americans are
well-informed about the Middle East, its histories and American
policies there, and hence they are well-qualified to make judgements
about whether or not those policies appear 'rather sensible'.

You may know that no "weapons of mass destruction" (WMDs) have been
discovered in Iraq to date. Certainly, no WMDs were employed by Iraq
in the recent war.

According to a May 14-18 poll of 1265 Americans conducted by the
Program on International Policy Attitudes at University of Maryland:
34% of Americans believe that WMDs have been *already found* in Iraq.
22% of Americans believe that WMDs were *used* by Iraq in the war.

"Given the intensive news coverage and high levels of public
attention, this level of misinformation suggests some Americans may
be avoiding having an experience of cognitive dissonance."
--Steve Kull (director of Program on International Policy Attitudes)

"Only a few people--a shrinking number, apparently--are willing to
study current events in depth. Denver pollster Floyd Ciruli says
between 2 and 10 percent of the population are 'extremely involved'
in following the news, and only 1 to 2 percent closely follow
foreign affairs. And roughly 30 percent, he said, 'will *believe
anything*'." (22 June 2003, Denver Post)
--Fred Brown ("What can we learn from our ignorance?")

Here are some comments on the American people and their leader now
from Thomas de Zengotita, an American writer, in his essay, "The
Romance of Empi and the politics of self-love", in Harper's:

"All his life Bush has been protected by his birthright from the
consequences of pretensions he might not have been able to live up
to on his own. He became tough and confrontational--but without
risk....Bush's heart was elevated on 9/11 from a personal to a
historic plane. He understood his role after that day in terms of
divine election--don't doubt that. He experienced himself being
chosen by God to lead a War on Terror in exactly the way he once
experienced his personal salvation: in his heart, where floods of
feeling admit no doubt. So conceptualized, this sentimentality
appears to Bush as his own essential goodness, a goodness that
merges with the greater goodness of the American People, binding
them together. Patriotic participation in a mission, embodied
in gear, is extended through this gesture to the romanticized
polity, embracing millions of Americans who identify their highest
selves with this same sentimentality....

He has no notion of historical context at all. None. The world
is flat as a set to a man who equates learning with affectation,
which Bush has done all his life. So the comparison between his
goodness, which is the goodness of his people, and Saddam's evil
is all he needs. It is that simple, and Bush prides himself on
simplicity. Simplicity is what allows him to follow his heart.
....
The Grievance, instantly iconic, also gave Americans permission
to ignore the history of our involvement in the Arab and Islamic
worlds. 'Nothing could justify what they did on 9/11...'
functioned as a blanket pardon for continued indifference to
context. Conditioned by media to avoid anything they can't
understand in a minute, our citizens have learned to think of
ignorance as sturdy common sense. They have internalized the
flattery heaped upon them by generations of political shysters,
serving various agendas, all of which have this in common: they
rely upon the nation's civic laziness. The vaunted 'wisdom of
the American people'--even more vaunted than Iraq's Republican
Guard--is the more to be cherished for being theirs by
definition, effortlessly acquired, no tedious study, no ethical
reflection demanded, yet another convenience among so many. It
is sufficient to declare that 'you have to take a stand at some
point!' in tones that thrill with conviction, because such
bromides seem adequate to the tiny sphere of one's own experience.
Projecting such maxims onto the complexities of world affairs
follows automatically, because representations of that world have
been reduced to terms that invite just those projections.
Performing those reductions is the whole business of journalism,
and the whole business of politicians is to align their
personalities and policies with them.

In the case of Bush, no particular exertions were required.
Indifference and ignorance were long entrenched, already cast as
virtues. And people in his constituency are drawn to him for
just that reason. Jokes about Dubya's mangled vocabulary,
revelations of his inability to identify foreign leaders and
historical events--the educated classes in the blue states might
have been gleefully appalled, but folks in the heartland, folks
who take pride in describing themselves as 'ordinary Americans',
they were neither gleeful nor appalled. On the contrary. They
resented the snobs who jeered at his natural awkwardness and
innocent errors in an ill-disguised attempt to draw attention to
their own suave ways, their own erudition. Bush's hold on his
constituency depends not only on the rhythms of sentiment they
share but on their common antipathy to all things intellectual
and refined, an antipathy deriving from devotion to practical
enterprises. Bush's people know the difference between being
smart--as in quick, cunning, focused--and being educated,
overeducated, psuedo, verbose, affecting an interest in the
useless, the unintelligible, the foreign. Unlike so many who
mocked him for stupidity, they knew that Bush was smart; it
showed in the way he looked people in the eye, always gauging,
a gifted salesman scoping out the client. So when Bush triumphs,
his people triumph. When Bush confounds the highbrow critics--
the tenured radicals, the effete Frenchmen, the African diplomats
with thousand-dollar suits and Oxbridge accents--all those
masters of gray nuance, weaving their paralyzing webs out of
distant causes and obscure consequences--when Bush the Bold
confounds them all with simple words and simpler deeds, well,
his people are themselves vindicated. They were right all
along, right to be ignorant, right to be parochial--*right*,
by God, just to be American.."

--Thomas de Zengotita (Harper's, July 2003, pp. 36-8)

You seem to underrate the ability of demagogues in democracies
to inflame the base passions of their peoples and sometimes to
persuade them into supporting catastrophic decisions of state.
At such times, I like to read Thucydides's account of Athens's
Sicilian Expedition in the Peloponnesian War (431-404 BCE).

"The moral splendor of American empire can be made to stand on a
pedestal of lies....The American news media can be relied upon to
sell the spectacle and leave the story to the government....
Package the imperialist agenda as instructive entertainment, and
the American public will come to know and love the product....

Welcome to the brave, new freedom-loving world envisioned by the
heirs and assigns of what once was a democratic republic. Let
any nation anywhere on earth even begin to think of challenging
the American supremacy (military, cultural, socioeconomic) and
America reserves the right to strangle the impudence at birth."

--Lewis Lapham ("The Demonstration Effect", Harper's, June 2003)

One of the big problems in the world today is the abysmal level of
governance across huge swathes of the planet.


'The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion.'
--Edmund Burke (Reflections on the Revolution in France)

"What is happening to this country? When did we beome a nation
which ignores and berates our friends?...How can we abandon diplomacy
when the turmoil in the world cries out for diplomacy?"
--Senator Robert Byrd (19 March 2003, speech in the U.S. Senate)

Yes, many Americans already strongly agree that there should be a
"regime change" in Washington in 2004-5.

"Lewis H. Lapham (the editor of Harper's) writes for those willing
to expand the discourse beyond the sermons of Donald Rumsfeld and
Ari Fleischer. The word 'democracy' oozes from the American media
millions of times a day. But because it always comes after 'defend
our' or 'protect our', it remains a concept used mainly by those in
power to conceal the motives of a jittery government and imprison
its citizens. Democracy is thus never actualized at home and becomes
more of an illusion each time a bomb is dropped in its name on another
sovereign state."
--Lewis Akenji (letter to Harper's, June 2003)

"On matters of the gravest importance, constitutional principles have
been violated and the electorate lied to. We are the ones who must
have our democracy back." (20 April 2003, The Observer)
--Edward Said ("Give us back our Democracy")

If, a big if, Bremer pulls it off in Iraq, then the US economy can only
benefit, albeit in a small way given Iraq's relative unimportance:
besides, what are you suggesting, that the Allies pull out?


Why do you seem to believe that the United States government always
has kept the best interests of Iraq's peoples in mind? As I recall,
the United States tended to support Saddam Hussein, including during
a period when he was crushing the Kurds, until he made the fateful
miscalculation of invading Kuwait (without asking permission first).

"In 1996, Madeleine Albright, then the U.S. Ambassador to the United
Nations, was asked on national television ("60 Minutes", 12 May 1996)
what she felt about the fact that five hundred thousand Iraqi children
had died as a result of U.S.-led economic sanctions. She replied that
it was 'a very hard choice', but that all things considered, 'we think
the price is worth it'. Albright never lost her job for saying this.
She continued to travel the world representing the views and
aspirations of the U.S. government."
--Arundhati Roy (The Algebra of Infinite Justice)

Why do you seem to believe that the American invasion of Iraq was
motivated only by the goal of creating a democracy therein?

I have to say that you seem too impressed or distracted by American
flag-waving. You seem not to question the facile American rhetoric
of supporting democracy, and you seem to ignore the historical record
of bloody American actions to put down democracy in many countries.

It would be unprecedented for the United States to support a truly
democratic government in that region. For the record, here are some
of the national leaders whom the Americans actually have supported:
the Shah of Iran, the King of Saudi Arabia, and Emir of Kuwait, and,
yes, Saddam Hussein himself (especially during his war against Iran).

Before the Americans (and other Allied forces) liberated Kuwait from
Iraq's conquest, the United States government proclaimed to its people
that this 'liberation' would mean 'restoring democracy' to Kuwait.
Today, with the full blessings of the United States, the Emir of
Kuwait rules his people while hardly allowing any more democratic
institutions than before.

One thing I am sure of, it won't make a huge difference to the
American economy.


On the contrary, as I recall, Iraq's proven oil reserves are exceeded
in amount in its region only by Saudi Arabia's. For the foreseeable
future, the United States government will enjoy primary de facto
control over how Iraq's oil supply is allocated. And that may have
major strategic as well as economic importance to the United States.

...I can curse or praise with equal gusto any leader on the planet, is
that servility?


'Unanimity is almost always an indication of servitude.'
--Charles de Remusat

I have no reason to doubt that you express yourself here both
sincerely and independently. And I have attempted to respect
your views even though I should disagree with some of them.

On the other hand, some of your rhetoric appears aimed quite
selectively here. You have taken me to task for writing a
factual post about a 1988 historical event, even though you
do *not* (indeed, no one else here does) dispute its facts.
Meanwhile, you have remained silent while a faction of
jingoistic American racists here (Tim Hanke, StanB, Briarroot)
has waged a campaign of baseless ad hominem attacks on me.
Of course, you are not morally obliged to speak out in my
defence; I am quite able to defend myself well against such
attacks. Yet I mention this only in the hope that it might
lend more balance to your perspectives on rhetoric here.

'Perhaps the most delightful friendships are those in which
there is much agreement, much disputation, and yet more
personal liking.'
--George Eliot (Felix Holt)

--Nick
  #4  
Old July 24th 03, 04:54 AM
Nick
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default A new enemy of Lev Khariton :-) (OT)

"Mark Houlsby" wrote in message ...
Nick wrote:
Chapman billy wrote in
message news:[email protected]
In article [email protected]
m05.aol.com, Mark Houlsby -remove)- says...
...
My two cents: the reasons *not* to give the present administration the
benefit of the doubt about *anything at all* are too numerous to list
here, but some of the main ones a
1) it was not democratically elected.
...
2) the president may have an IQ lower than any of his predecessors, and
is at least arguably *worse* than Warren Harding, who was the previous
holder of the distinction "worst ever US president"

Bush hasn't been in power long enough to assess his presidency.


Has Bush really 'been in power long enough to assess his presidency'?
That depends on one's perspective and purpose. It's too early for a
historian to write a definitive political biography. But President Bush
already has 'been in power long enough' to have begun his campaign for
reelection in 2004. Why would you suppose that it's still premature for
Americans to 'assess his presidency' when soon they will be expected to
decide whether or not to vote for him?


Indeed. My having written about GWB that he is: "...at least arguably
*worse* than Warren Harding..." was intended, specifically, to imply
that *notwithstanding* his having held the office of President for less
than a term he is *already* a contender for worst ever (which is quite a
negative achievement).


"In the issues of December 16, 2000, to November 10, 2001, we may have given
the impression that George W. Bush has been legally and duly elected president
of the United States. We now understand that this may have been incorrect,
and that the election result is still too close to call. The 'Economist'
apologizes for any inconvenience."
--The Economist (17 November 2001)

Dear Mr. Houlsby,

You may be interested in these comments by Eric Alterman (Ph.D. from Stanford
University in United States history), an American writer and media critic:

"The media impose a narrative structure on Election Day even narrower than
that for the campaign. It can be summed up in a single sentence: 'The system
works.'...The newscaster has not yet been born who hasn't felt compelled to
marvel aloud at the fact that America has a presidential election every four
years without the presence of tanks in the streets. The media have no back-up
plan in the case of elective dysfunction. The system 'works' whether it works
or not.

The conclusion to the election of 2000 presented the media with a set of
inassimilable challenges to its narrative, however; and these turned out to
be challenges that they were unprepared to meet. The Bush team understood
its task in a way the Gore team never did. It was able to construct a coherent
story and--just as important--stick to it, in a fashion that appealed to
reporters' need for narrative simplicity and coherence. This resulted in
coverage of the election calamity that was heavily biased on behalf of the
presumed winner, now-President George W. Bush, and a significant slighting--if
not outright denial--of the many pieces of the puzzle that could not somehow
be forced into the story of the triumph, once again, of American democracy....

Of course Gore won the popular vote by about 537000 votes, a slim margin to
be sure, but far larger than that enjoyed by either John Kennedy in 1960 or
Richard Nixon in 1968....Gore also won, without a doubt, a plurality of the
intended votes of Floridians on Election Day. Yet he did not manage to win
the election.... (pp. 175-6)

Any sensible analysis of the battle over Florida must keep in mind two essential
points: First, the actual vote was a statistical tie, well within the built-in
margin of error of any system of immediate measurement. Second, the Republicans
were always going to find a way to win, by whatever means turned out to be
necessary....

All of this is true even though more Floridians, unquestionably, went to the
polls intending to vote for Al Gore on Election Day than for George Bush.
Almost certainly, more legal votes were actually cast for Al Gore than for
Bush, although many of these were successfully disqualified by Republican
officials....According to journalist John Lantiqua, 'In all, some 200000
Floridians were either not permitted to vote in the November 7 election on
questionable or possibly illegal grounds, or saw their ballots discarded and
not counted. A large and disproportionate number were black.' At the end
of August 2002, the state of Florida agreed to settle a voter discrimination
lawsuit with the NAACP, instead of facing the prospect of attempting to prove
that Bush had been allowed to get his vote totals fair and square. Miami-Dade,
Broward, Leon, Volusia, and Duval counties settled earlier rather than face
trial.... (pp. 176-7)

But buried beneath the misleading headlines was the inescapable fact that Al
Gore was the genuine choice of a plurality of Florida's voters as well as that
of America's. As the AP report put it, 'In the review of all the state's
disputed ballots, Gore edged ahead under all six scenarios for counting all
undervotes and overvotes statewide.' In other words, he got more votes in
Florida than George Bush by almost every conceivable counting standard. Gore
won under a strict-counting scenario and he won under a loose-counting scenario.
He won if you counted 'hanging chads' and he won if you counted 'dimpled chads'.
He won if you counted a dimpled chad only in the presence of another dimpled
chad on the same ballot--the so-called 'Palm Beach' standard. He even won if
you counted only a fully punched chad. He won if you counted partially filled
ovals on an optical scan and he won if you counted only the fully filled ovals.
He won if you fairly counted the absentee ballots. No matter how you counted
it, if everyone who legally voted in Florida had had a chance to see their
vote counted, Al Gore was our president.

But by the time of the release of the report, the mainstream media had grown
so protective of President Bush's legitimacy that many were willing to tar as
crazy anyone who took the trouble to read the report carefully....Meanwhile,
CNN's Candy Crowley fell back on that old reliable, 'Maybe the best thing of
all is that messy feelings at the Florida ballot have only proved the strength
of our democracy...' In fact, had the Supreme Court not intervened for Bush,
it seems quite likely that Gore would have won the count despite his own side's
incompetence." (pp. 190-1)

--Eric Alterman (What Liberal Media?: the Truth about Bias and the News, 2003)

'The demagogue flatters the clown and finds fault with the sage.'
--Hugh Henry Brackenridge (Modern Chivalry)

'He who demands little gets it.'
--Ellen Glasgow (The Voice of the People)

--Nick
 




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